Monday, April 18, 2011

Well, today I am writing from San Felipe. Since it’s my last P-DAY, I have permission to visit. So we left early and took a bus here.

Last week was really awesome. We had a lot of success. It might help that we received reinforcements. That is to say that we are now in a trio with Elder Cespedes, from Argentina. He got here last Monday night, and will probably stay with Elder MacLennan when I leave. He`s awesome, and we`ve had a lot of success.

The biggest success, and what makes me really content, is that we have two baptisms ready for this Sunday. I`ll be going out with a bang! David and Gloria are more than ready and really excited. It`s amazing how fast Gloria has learned and really wants to get baptized. Her inactive son, Camilo, supports her and helps us a lot. He`ll go to church for her baptism this week.

David is also very excited. His mom has been worried about whether he`s ready or not, but last night she told us that she thinks he is. She said that she`s seen changes in him and that baptism will be good to help him keep changing. She`s almost as excited as he is.

We also found and started to work with several new investigators last week.

Last night we had an activity in the church. It was a tour and was great even though it didn’t turn out as we expected. Only a couple investigators showed up, so instead of rotating class rooms we all met in the chapel and a sister from Relief Society talked for ten minutes about the Plan of Salvation and the Elders Quorum President talked about the Restoration. Then we all went to the room where the baptismal font is and the Young Men taught about baptism. It was really great. Even though mainly members went, there were a lot; and it was a nice reminder for them. Also, David`s uncle--who has said that he would never step foot in our church--went, surprising all of us. He liked it and would like to learn more. This Sunday he will accompany David to his baptism.

We went a few hours early to the church to clean up a little and set up for the tour. At one point we left the hall and saw a young lady sitting on the bench in the foyer with her two children (four- and two-years-old). We went to talk to her, recognizing right away an opportunity to teach. She said she had passed by the church many times but never entered. When she passed yesterday and saw it open, she suddenly had a desire to enter. Interesting how the Holy Spirit works with people. She just entered and sat down without saying anything to anyone. Her name is Magalena, and we took advantage of having time to teach her. With help from the ward mission leader, we shared with her a lot about the church. She also stayed for the tour and loved it. She made several friends there, including the Primary President--which was a double bonus because they are both from Peru, and she has two kids of Primary age. She loved everything and wants to learn more. That will be a future baptism for my comps.

Friday I had my final visit to the temple. It was awesome! I learned more things, felt the spirit really strong, and had a wonderful experience. After the session, we did some sealings, being sons and witnesses. It was fun. I had missed the temple and made the goal to go once every two weeks while I`m at BYU-Idaho.

Well, this is my last email home as this is my last week. We`ll see how fast or slow this week goes. Regardless, I will be working hard to leave my comps with as many people to teach possible. Well, I can`t think of something witty to say at the end of my last email of the mission. Except for, th-th-th-th-th-that`s all folks!!!!!

Elder Murdoch

Monday, April 4, 2011

Wow, what a great weekend. I absolutely loved General Conference. It was my favorite so far. I learned a lot, especially what I have to improve in my life. All the talks were great. I really felt impressed by President Monson and Elder Scott who talked about marriage. I have always thought that I don´t want to get married right away after. I´ve always said that I´ll wait, take my time, cause I want to be sure about it. Which is why Elder Scott hit me hard when he said that after the mission my number one priority should be temple marriage. Even more important than work or studies. I also loved the talk by Lynn G. Robins about "DO" and "BE." I will print that one out to study more.

I also enjoyed the choirs as I saw several people that I know in the BYU-Idaho choir, and Dallin Hatch in the Priesthood choir. My companion and I are really excited as they announced new temples in each of our homes: In Meridian, Idaho and Winnepeg, Canada. And the best was when they talked about Mary Murray Murdoch during Priesthood. He was talking about hope and mentioned the pioneers. Anytime anyone mentions pioneers, I think of my fourth-great grandmother. When he said "In 1851..." I recognized the date and my heart stopped until he said "Mary Murray Murdoch..." I threw both my fists in the air and yelled, "That´s my fourth-great grandmother!!!!" It was amazing!

Rodolfo went to Priesthood and enjoyed it. He is doing great. He´s working a little more to get his divorce papers finished. A problem here in Chile is that it takes so long to get divorced. He says that it should be done by September. SEPTEMBER!?!? I´ll be long gone by then!! I really hope it´s sooner than that.

Well, that´s all I have time for now. What a great conference. I testify that all who spoke in it are called and qualified of God and that the words they spoke are the words of God meant for each one of us in our individual lives.

Elder Murdoch

Monday, March 28, 2011

Well, this week was a bit challenging. We are working really hard. I feel like I am doing well at finishing strong. We are using all the resources we have available to find new investigators. We are using the Area Book with potential investigators, former investigators, working with less-active and active members--but nothing. I know that we can find more, we just need to keep working and improving our faith. I hope to see some fruits soon.

Rodolfo is doing great. He has a strong testimony of the church. He has made several comments as to the truthfulness of the church. He knows it´s true. The challenge now is waiting. He has to wait for his divorce papers to finish and then he has to get married to his current partner. Then when that happens, BAM!! baptism. He´s ready.

Aside from him we aren´t teaching much. We have a few other investigators, but they´re not progressing and we may end up dropping most of them.

We are working well with the ward, though. Our ward mission leader is great, the best one I´ve had on my mission. Our coordination meetings with him are great. And yesterday we were invited to ward council, which went great as well. We are planning an activity, which we presented and everyone accepted. Sunday the 17th, we´re going to have a tour of the church. We will use three rooms, with rotations. The organizations will teach little messages. Young Men will teach baptism; the Priesthood-The Restoration; Young Women- Plan of Salvation. At the end everyone will meet in the chapel and we will teach the Atonement, with a clip from "Finding Faith in Christ." Then there will be refreshments(Relief Society) and we will set up a table with pamphlets and Books of Mormon to give out, and a notebook to take down names and directions of people who want us to visit them. Oh, and with an invitation to come to church the following Sunday, which will be my last. It should be a great activity. I won´t see the fruits, except those who go to church the next week, but it should help my companion and his next companion out a lot.

Speaking of my companion, he´s great. We get along really well. We joke around a lot and have a great time. He´s kind of rubbing off his Canadian on me though. I find myself saying "eh" a lot. They use it like we Americans use "huh," and I say it now too. They also pronounce words such as "bag" or "tag" as "beg" or "teg". I harass him a lot for that but also find myself talking like that. Yikes! I´m gonna to come home speaking Chilean and Canadian! AHHHH!!!! :)

Well, gotta go. Have a great week!

Elder Murdoch

Monday, March 21, 2011

Wow, what a week. Where to start? Time goes by so fast. Faster every day. I only have five weeks left. After this one, four emails left to send. Crazy!! But I´m trying not to be trunky, rather finish strong and work to the last. My new sector is a great one. Not too big but not small either. There are few active families, but the few that we have are amazing. They help us a lot. It is a pretty small ward. We don´t even have a bishop, as the last one moved several months ago and hasn´t been replaced. But we hope to get one soon.

We have a lot of potential in our ward, but it does need a lot of help. I hope to be able to help all I can in the short amount of time I will be here. In my last ward, San Felipe, they were at an average of 70 in church when I arrived. They now are at an average of 90. I hope to do the same to Independencia.

The Sunday before I got here, they baptized a little girl, Maria Jesús. Yesterday she got confirmed and is way excited to keep coming to church. We are also teaching her dad, Rodolfo. He has all the lessons, has gone to church a lot, and has a testimony of the prophet Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. His problem is that he is separated and lives with another woman. He is in the process of getting divorced, which should be something quick but is taking longer than it should. After that he will get married to his current partner and get baptized. He´s really excited for it.

His father has also listened a lot, and the soon-to-be wife also has a little interest; but they both work on Sundays. Supposedly, they will stop soon and will then be able to attend church.

Last Sunday, before I got here, they had Stake Conference. Elder Corbridge talked, and it sounds like it was great. A family of three went, and we are trying to teach them more. This whole last week they were busy, but this Wednesday we will visit them. It´s a couple, Julio and Ivonne, with a son, Diego, 11. They loved the church and want to hear more. Time is the issue with them.

We are teaching a Peruvian, Edward, who wants to get baptized and has been to church a lot. The problem is that we can only teach him in the church, not his house, and only on Saturday night and Sunday after church, although he didn´t go to church yesterday. He also has trouble understanding everything. He´s a little slow. In August he´s returning to Peru to live, and I´m not sure if he´d be able to keep going to church there. It´s going to be a tough decision whether we should baptize him and hope he goes to church in Peru or if we should let the missionaries in Peru teach him. He can get baptized, though.

We have another investigator, Lila, who is about 60 and takes care of her father, 92. The other Elders had taught her, but then she went on vacation for a few weeks. They left her with a couple pamphlets to read, including Word of Wisdom. In those short weeks, she read over half the Book of Mormon. Now, over two months later, she´s in Helaman. She wants to get baptized but does have some doubts. We actually were able to help her with one the other day. She thought that we put too much emphasis on Joseph Smith, almost like a "Saint." We helped her understand that he was just a prophet of God, the same as Moses or Abraham. She understood better and was happier after that. She had read the pamphlet of Word of Wisdom and taught herself and understood it. She also understood that to get baptized, she has to stop smoking. It will be hard as she smokes a box of 20 a day. But she said she once did it for 6 months, then fell again. But now she knows it´s possible. She wants to, and we will be helping her with it.

With all these, and a couple of others, we have several potential baptisms for April, my last month. I hope to finish well and with lots of success.

My comp is great. Elder Maclennan is from Canada, so I always harass him about hockey and moose. Plus he always ends his sentences with "eh,” kind of like our "huh." He´s really fun, and we get along great. He´s a hard worker and should do well on his mission.

Well, that´s about it for this week. Hope the next ones go slower, but probably won´t. Have a great one!

Elder Murdoch

P.S. Please notice new address and mailing instructions on the right! :)

Monday, March 14, 2011

Well, I´m now starting my last transfer and hoping to finish it out strong. Six more weeks, and they are crucial. Especially since I´m in a new sector. Much to my surprise, and quite an upset, they closed our sector. We knew Elder Hendricks was going to leave. He actually went to Dorsal 2, one of my old sectors. But we did not expect them to take me out, too. They didn´t even put more missionaries in. They closed it completely. I´m pretty upset about it. We were having a lot of success. In three weeks we found 15 new investigators. We were going to have a baptism either this Sunday or the next. We´re really bummed. But that´s how it is, and I´m in a good sector now anyway. I´m in Independencia, which is really close to Carrion, another sector I’ve been in. It´s a good sector, and my companion is great. He´s Elder MacLennan, from Canada. He´s a newbie, starting his third transfer--ready and willing to work. They had a baptism of a little girl yesterday . Her mom and dad are almost ready for baptism. The mom just needs to sign a paper to get divorced and then that´s it--baptism. We should have a lot of success this transfer. My last one.

Well, thanks to transfers I don´t have much to say. Saturday we had a fun day. We made breakfast for lunch for a family. They had an investigator over, and one of their daughters is inactive. Actually, I think I´ve talked about the investigator, Katalina, before. We, the missionaries, made scrambled eggs with chunks of sausage, hashbrowns, and French toast. It turned out great, and they loved it.

Patricia is doing great, although I hope that she still gets baptized. It will be hard for the missionaries there now to be able to take care of their sector and ours, but they are going to try. Last week we taught her a lot, including the Word of Wisdom. She understood well and even said that she´ll have to stop drinking tea. "But hey! Herbal tea is healthier anyway!" She´s great. She´ll be a great member.

Well, that´s about it for this week. We have a new directive on how to send mail, but I don’t have the details with me. I’ll give more information next week. Things will still get to me the old way for a couple of weeks, though.

Well, have a wonderful week!

Elder Murdoch

Monday, March 7, 2011

Time is going by so fast!! Too fast! But we keep finding more people to teach and baptize so things are good. This last week was full of trials and tests but with them many opportunities to strengthen my faith, learn, and progress in many ways.

Like I said, we keep finding people and teaching others that we had. Patricia is doing great. She didn´t go to church yesterday, but today we´re going to pass by and see why. She´s learning a lot and last week accepted a baptismal date for March 20. She can do it but needs to go to church. We also met her son, Yerko, 22. He´s really nice, and we want to start teaching him as well.

Now for one of the trials we had. Last week I talked about Manuel, who knows a lot about the church (cool side note, he has Bob Marley hair) and his friend Ruben. We had a couple lessons with them, and I felt that Ruben has more of a true desire to learn. It´s true. Last night we dropped by and found Ruben alone. He said that they had some problems. Manuel was causing a lot of drama, and Ruben, as owner of the house, had to kick him out. But I think it´s better. He said that Manuel was making fun of us, saying that he knows more than us about the church. Sounds like he´s too proud and that he may not have progressed much.

We also found a great lady named Magdalena last night. Unfortunately, I don´t have time to talk about her, but I will next week.

Have a great week!

Elder Murdoch

La Moneda, Chile's "White House"

Monday, February 28, 2011

Wow, what a week! One of the best of my mission! No kidding! We have had so many miracles, and I know that the Lord is blessing us a lot. For the third week in a row we did over 200 contacts, ending with 268 and 50 Permaneced visits. As we keep improving in these two key indicators, all our other numbers keep increasing as well. This last week we had a total of 10 lessons: 6 with members and 4 others; exactly what we had done the past three weeks of the transfer. We found six new investigators, and one went to church--the first investigator in church since our sector was opened. Let it be said that we have broken the curse of Putaendo!! We are now doing great!

We started something new this week. We have introduced some members to waffles, and they love them. They all ask to use our waffle maker, or better yet, for us to make them waffles. So we compromise. We set up a Family Home Evening saying that we will make waffles after--only if they bring an investigator. Sometimes they do the lesson, other times we do. It´s working. Last week we had a lesson with the Elders Quorum President and his family. His wife reactivated a few months ago, and the three daughters are inactive, although one is working on becoming active. He gave the lesson about the Beatitudes. They had brought a friend, Katalina who was really interested. We gave her a Book of Mormon, and she committed to read. We later found out that she loved the Family Home Evening. Tomorrow night we have another one with her and the member family. It will be great because if she starts going to church, the inactive daughters will have to go with her. So we will baptize and reactivate.

Last week I mentioned Jaime, a reference from the bishop. Well, the other day we kind of met him. Well, at least we tried; but he hid in his room. He apparently doesn´t want to listen; he just didn´t want to say no to the bishop. However, his daughters, Romina and Patricia and Patricia´s daughter, Akim, are really interested. Patricia went to church yesterday and she loved it as well as the baptism of the other Elders in the ward. Afterward, she committed to come to church next week and every Sunday. She has some great potential to progress well.

Now, to top all of this off, last night we had a miracle. And when I say miracle, I mean MIRACLE!! We had a Family Home Evening with a family that has both inactives and nonmembers. They called to tell us that they weren´t home, leaving us with nothing to do the rest of the night. On the other side of the street we noticed a couple of guys and a girl bringing some big heavy bags out of a house. So we went over and asked if we could help. The one, named Ruben, said "Yes you can. Do you have a book I can read?" So we gave him a Book of Mormon. Then we started to talk with them as we helped carry their stuff to the bus stop. The other guy, Manuel, knows a lot about the church. He started talking about the Doctrine and Covenants, the Liahona, angel Moroni, gold plates, teachings of the prophets, word of wisdom, etc. This guy knows a lot! But he´s not a member. YET. They actually asked, almost begged, us to visit them in their house. The problem is that they moved there last week and didn´t know how to tell us how to get there. So we offered to go with them, helping with the bags, to see how to get there. Let me say that they live IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE! And it´s a really small, humble house. But they are really great. They have a lot of desires to learn more. The girl, Jacqueline, was asking a lot of great questions. They all love to read, so we left each with their own Book of Mormon, and we´re thinking of giving them all the pamphlets of the lessons so they can read and learn on their own. They also committed to come to church on Sunday. They really are wonderful, and will make great progress.

The Lord is blessing us a lot, and we hope to keep working hard and have lots of success these next two (my last two) months. I´m really excited.

Elder Murdoch